McLaren’s switch from Honda to Renault engines has hampered any hope of conducting a private test run using a two-year old car before the 2020 Formula 1 season begins next month. 

Mercedes is ramping up its preparations for the upcoming campaign by undertaking a two-day private test at Silverstone this week with Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton driving the team’s 2018 title-winning W09. 

Ferrari is also expected to carry out a similar test run - most likely to  take place at its Fiorano test track - in the coming weeks, but a date is yet to be confirmed. 

F1’s regulations do not allow for official in-season testing of current cars, but teams are permitted to use older-spec machinery from 2016-2018 to get in as much mileage as they want. 

But McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has confirmed the Woking squad will not be completing any private testing as it does not have any Honda power units from the 2015-17 era available. 

That means the team could only use its 2018 car for testing but McLaren has opted against investing in a test with the MCL33 due to its vastly different design philosophy which means it is not a representative car to run. 

“On the driver side, unfortunately we don’t have this possibility of having a car that is two years old that we could operate because of all the powertrain switches we had here in recent years,” Seidl told Sky Sports. 

“But as you have seen already, Lando was doing some karting and the free testing [in F3 machinery with Carlin] and we look into the same thing also with Carlos to have the drivers ready.

“Of course, we will do some simulator work as well with them.”

Mercedes is using its Silverstone test as an opportunity to get used to working with the new health and safety protocols F1 will enforce at races this season, including the use of social distancing measures, facemasks and other personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Seidl said McLaren’s own preparations have begun ahead of the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on 5 July. 

“We started the race team again last week so we are preparing the cars at the moment and to try and to go through a lot of procedures and processes in the garage under these new circumstances with all the social distancing etc,” he explained. 

“With what we know now with the process that has been outlined from FIA and Formula 1 in terms of how we actually execute the race weekend in Austria, we have clarity there.

“Now it’s simply important to focus on preparation in the next three four weeks and then hopefully we have a good start in Austria.”

Mercedes released a video of a fire-up of its W09 car ahead of the Silverstone test which showed a glimpse of F1’s new health and safety measures, with team personnel adhering to social distancing where possible and wearing face masks. 

 

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